New Summerfest policy goes into effect; concert-goers must show vaccine card or negative Covid test

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A new policy went into effect on the Summerfest grounds Friday night, Aug. 13.

You now have to show proof you're vaccinated or have a negative Covid test to attend concerts.

We were on the grounds two weeks ago when the newly remodeled AmFam Amphitheater opened for the first time to a sold-out crowd. Some were caught off guard Friday night by the change in policy.

The Little Big Town show is a first for the AmFam Amphitheater. It's the first to see the change in policy.

All concert-goers on the Summerfest grounds must now either show a Covid vaccination card at the gate or show proof of a recent Covid test.

"It doesn't bother me at all. It's a small price to pay to get back to normal, or as close to normal as we can get. I have no problem with it," said Sherry Hackbart, concert-goer.

"That doesn't bother me. I understand, you know, where we're at these days," said Janet Grove.

But the new policy took a lot of people by surprise, like Bryan Mahoric. He didn't know what to do.

"It would've been a little bit nicer to get more than 72 hours notice from American Family about a show, especially since I went to the Foo Fighters show and the Black Crowes show and we didn't have to do that," he said.

Two of the four in his group haven't been vaccinated and don't want to be, so he had to eat the cost of those tickets.

"I'm a little upset that they are now doing this policy," said Mahoric.

"This was very last minute, now we're scrambling to figure out if we can get a refund," Sherry Ahnert said.


Ahnert's plans are over after Summerfest changes its entry policy earlier this week.

"I don't understand why we just can't wear masks. it's worked this whole year. Why do we have to be singled out when we don't agree or don't feel comfortable?" Ahnert said.

Those who bought tickets through Summerfest.com, the box office, or through Ticketmaster can get a full refund.

Fans who aren't vaccinated can still get in. AmFam has a rapid test set up at the gate. 

"I think that's a great idea because there are a lot of people that are afraid to get the vaccine. So I'm all for it. It protects the people. It protects the band members. All is good," said concert-goer Sue Golyzniak.

Jeff Dunn's sitting this one out, but he's got tickets to see Dave Matthews here in September.

"I'm probably not gonna go. I mean I just don't feel the necessary need to get that. It's a choice thing too. Like I said, I don't think of anyone less of going through there. If they want to go, fine," said Dunn.

Others say they actually feel better knowing this is required, and say showing their vaccine card is no big deal.

"We should show proof, and those who choose not to get vaccinated, I believe that they should stay home," said concert-goer Kimberley Ashley.

"Oh get over it already. It's been a long year and a half. We want to get back doing things, just get out and about. What's it take ya, a minute?" said Connie Wick.

There's one catch to getting your money back. You must submit your request by this coming Monday, Aug. 16.

Refunds are not available for concerts outside the Summerfest dates.

The Pabst Theater Group and all its venues adopted the same policy Thursday. It takes effect Wednesday, Sept.1. However, there are shows happening before that date, and some artists are requesting that people adhere to the policy protocol now.

"I feel very strongly that people will adapt. Those who can't, we're happily offering refunds to those people," Gary Witt said. He is the executive director of The Pabst Theater Group.

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